Chuck: Chuck and Kelly, joined by our legal analyst, Paul Harding, from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Hey Paul, how are you?
Paul: Hey, good morning guys, doing well.
Chuck: So the Nxivm trial is, after six-plus weeks, coming to a rapid conclusion. Closing arguments begin this morning in Brooklyn. Could take a day or two and then the jury will get it. Kelly and I, as laymen, we think the prosecution’s case is pretty strong. What do you think?
Paul: Yeah, it’s super strong. They proved so many things. I guess, really, the question is, what will he not be found guilty of? The defense is rested, didn’t put any witnesses on. That doesn’t mean that defense counsel isn’t gonna be giving a version of defense in his closing, and I think what we’re gonna hear is like a consenting adult. I know it’s not a world that you guys may like, but the world exists out there and [inaudible 00:00:41] chose to participate in it.
Kelly: But he also gets into…I mean there is actually video evidence of him talking about sex with underage girls, and there’s that photo evidence, and it just seems like the evidence is kind of overwhelming.
Paul: You know, the stuff, it absolutely is. You’ve got the ID theft, wire fraud, extortion, money laundering. I think those are gonna be what he’s found guilty on. The real question is gonna be this racketeering. It really carries a large sentence here, and it’s a crime committed through extortion and coercion. Well, they know, they’re always collecting the lateral information, right. If you were an enemy, or if they wanted to keep you in the group, they were always collecting information against you, used against you. But again, I think the general theme is gonna be, hey, we did this, this is what we do. This is sort of part of our game. It’s this master/slave relationship that everybody knew about. So they’ll be a lot of guilties. The question is will there be guilty on the main charge? My guess is yes, but you know, those jurors, sometimes you just don’t know.
Kelly: So by not presenting a defense, they really only need to show that the prosecution didn’t prove their case, and that there is enough reasonable doubt with what they presented that could get an acquittal. That’s their strategy. Do you think it’s an effective strategy?
Paul: Well, they didn’t have a lot of options, because you put Keith Raniere on, for example, they just would have been able to rehash their case over and over and over. And they felt that that wasn’t gonna work, and I don’t know how appealing he would be to the jury either. I mean, he thinks…there was some indication he might do his closing, right?
Paul: I mean, there’s nothing official about that, because he’s so persuasive and such a personality, that if he got up there, he could claim to the jury that this didn’t really happen. So yeah, I do think that you’re absolutely correct, Kelly. They just need to show, or attempt to show, that there is not beyond a reasonable doubt that some of these things occurred. Some of it’s in black and white through, really, his own admission.
Chuck: Is it fair to say, in most cases, when a defense…when they don’t call their own witnesses, that they have a weak case, or is that not necessarily the case?
Paul: Well, you never announce it, but yeah, pretty much. If you don’t have someone to say I wasn’t there, I didn’t do that, you got the wrong guy, here’s the guy you should be looking at, yeah, you don’t really have a lot to say. It tends to be a weak case. Or some strategy that says, you know what? We’re not even gonna acknowledge this. They are so off guard, there’s just no reason for us to even defend this. [inaudible 00:02:36] There’s no valid chance that I could…not the case here.
Kelly: Now an additional wrinkle in this case here is that three of the jurors they selected, that they seated, have vacations starting on June 24th. And they disclosed that during jury selection, and they were seated anyway. And so the risk that you take here is that they start deliberations and then, oh, time for vacation, and they’re excused, and then you have to start deliberations all over again with the alternates.
Paul: You do. You have four alternates who’ve listened to everything, so they’ve not been cut out of one thing. But what they will be cut out of is jury deliberations. So if this thing goes on, and the judge even says, we’ll go all week and probably on Saturday also… But if by chance, they don’t have a verdict, then yes, they start again on Monday with the new jurors, the alternates, three out of four, as if they’re getting deliberations again. I don’t think that this is gonna be a six-day deliberation. I think it’s gonna be…well, I think just today that both sides are gonna rest, are gonna close, and I think deliberations are gonna go on for probably about a day and a half would be my guess. Less than a day, then that’s a real bad sign for Keith Raniere.
Chuck: And like Paul’s saying, mostly, it’ll be what is he not guilty of? A lot of convictions you’re expecting. Paul Harding, our legal analyst,1-800-LAW-1010, Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Thanks a lot, Paul.
Paul: Thank you. You’re welcome.